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“Three Steps for Getting Stronger at Chest to Bar Pull Ups”

Posted 04.17.17 by

“Three Steps for Getting Stronger at Chest to Bar Pull Ups”
One of the biggest questions I get in the gym is, “Albie, how do I get chest to bar pull ups?” My response is usually something like “Well…get stronger”. So here are three ways to get stronger with chest to bar pull ups (CTB).
Step 1
– Use a spotter.
If you cannot get there yourself, have someone help you. This is the most under utilized technique in the gym.  Forget about bands, boxes, jumping, and your ego, there is no other piece of “equipment” that is more adjustable and responsive than another person.  They can give you just the right amount of push to help you get to the position you need to.
Step 2
– Inverted barbell rows.
The inverted BB row allows you to perform a lower pull on your body as opposed to a ring row. Because the rings move, we often end up performing a more trap dominant pull rather than using more of our lats; the stationary bar allows for a more precise pull, lower on our body each rep. However, like a ring row, we can customize exactly where we position the height of the bar based of your skill level.
Step 3
– Barbell and Dumbbell rows
This last one should come as no surprise; grab something heavy and lift it. The key word in that last sentence was HEAVY. I too often see people grab the same DB’s or put the same weight on the barbell every time. Get out of your comfort zone on these. If you are not struggling to finish your last few reps on each set, (obviously while still maintaining proper technique) you are not going heavy enough. Prone rows off an elevated bench are an excellent alternative to your traditional BB and DB bent over rows, as they help the athlete engage their lats more versus their traps.
Try this for 4 weeks either pre or post workout. Increasing weight and reps if you can each week.
Day 1
A. Spotted CTB pull ups x4-6 reps x 2 sets
B. Inverted BB rows x8-10 reps x 2 sets
C. Single arm DB rows x10-12 reps x 2 sets
Day 2
A. Spotted CTB pull ups x3 reps w/ 5 second hold at the top x 2 sets
B. Feet elevated or weighted inverted BB rows x5 reps x 2 sets
C. Prone KB rows x6-8 reps x 2 sets